Changes to the education system in Wales
A new system of support for children with additional learning needs (ALN), called the ALN framework, was introduced on 1 September 2021 to replace the existing special educational needs (SEN system).
School Action/Action Plus is part of the old system of support for children with ALN and is being phased out.
If your child starts to receive support in education for the first time after 1 September 2021, their support will come under the ALN framework.
If your child was receiving support through School Action/Action Plus before 1 September 2021, this will end in January 2022. After that they’ll start to receive support under the ALN framework.
The information on this page might be useful until that point.
What is School Action?
Your child should get more intensive help – called School Action – if they are making little or no progress with the help normally available in class. Depending on your child’s needs and the school’s resources, help could include:
- Individual help for maths/literacy from a teaching assistant
- Small group support to help develop social and communication skills
- special equipment to help with writing
- a particular teaching programme.
What is School Action Plus?
This is an increased level of support for pupils who need more help than they can receive on School Action. Some children with more complex needs may move straight to this level. Help may include:
- a higher level of individual support from teacher or teaching assistant
- support from educational psychologist, speech and language therapist or specialist dyslexia teacher.
- a programme to help child manage their behaviour
If your child is getting extra help at school action or school action plus, their progress should be recorded in an individual education plan (IEP) – reviewed at least every six months. The school must tell you about the support your child is getting and involve you and your child in reviewing the IEP. This is a document which lists three or four targets, the help which will be given to achieve these and how success will be measured.
What if my child’s needs change?
Your child may need more or less additional support as time goes on, and so may move between School Action and School Action Plus, or may no longer have special educational needs, if they have made enough progress and no longer need the extra help.
What if my child needs more help than their school can give?
If a child needs more help than a particular school can give at School Action Plus, they may need a statutory assessment. This is the first step to getting a statement of special educational needs.
The SEN code of practice
The special educational needs code of practice gives detailed practical guidance on how to identify and help pupils with SEN. Maintained schools and local authorities must always consider what the code says, when they make a decision about a pupil with SEN. The code says that a child with SEN should have their needs met, and that parents have an important role to play in supporting their child. If you have a child with SEN and you want to know what kind of help they should be getting, you might find it helpful to look at parts of the code of practice yourself. Download the SEN code of practice.